St. James the Janitor

James Hampton (1909-1964) worked as a janitor during the day and created a legendary work of American art in a rented garage during the late hours of his nights. He gave himself the title 'Director for Special Projects for the State of Eternity' while he worked on his masterwork, titled 'The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly,' now housed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

'The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly.'
Written above the throne is the phrase 'Fear Not'.

This work consists of many shimmering items surrounding a central throne. It's essentially a small church. This was the epitome of devotional art; James Hampton spent the last fourteen years of his life lovingly building this elaborate monument to Jesus. Hampton claimed to have experienced many spiritual visions. He also wrote that God instructed him on his work on the throne each night.

This decorative stand includes foil-covered light bulbs that
may symbolize Jesus' role as 'the light of the world.'

Hampton unintentionally fused high and low art forms years before the Pop Art movement strove to do so; he also used 'found objects' out of necessity way before this medium was in vogue. The throne and its accoutrements are built of furniture, aluminum and gold foil, cardboard scraps, light bulbs, desk blotters and mirror shards. Hampton's life story and his work bear a great resemblance to that of Henry Darger (rent the film 'In The Realms of the Unreal'). For more photos and information, visit this article.

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